Pre-school information


What is pre-school education?

Pre-school education is an important stage in a child's development where children learn as they play. A good quality pre-school experience builds on the valuable learning that takes place in and around the home and develops the learning and other skills that children will rely on in later life.

Evidence suggests that a quality pre-school experience can bring a range of benefits, including a smoother transition into primary school and increased educational attainment.

Every three and four year old child has a funded, part-time pre-school education place of five sessions a week if the parents which to take it up. Local authorities have a duty to provide this under the Standards in Scotland's Schools Act 2000.


Does my child have to attend a pre-school education setting?

No, it is not compulsory. It is for parents to decide whether they want their child to participate.


When is my child eligible for a funded pre-school education place?

A child’s pre-school education entitlement starts: 

17 August for children who are three years old by 31 August*
5 January for children who are three years old between 1 September and 31 December
18 April for children who are three years old between 1 January and 28 February

*Children cannot start until their third birthday. For example, a child born on 26 August could not start pre-school education until that date.

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What should I do if my child is eligible?

You should contact the pre-school education provider of your choice to apply for a place for your child.


What sort of centre can my child go to?

We offer different types of pre-school nursery education. The majority of places are provided through nursery schools and classes run by us. We also works in partnership with private day nurseries and playgroups to make sure there are enough places and a range of provision available.


What guarantee do I have that the centre is of a good standard?

All centres must meet the registration criteria and National Care Standards laid down by the Care Inspectorate and are inspected annually.

All pre-school centres are also regulated by HM Inspectorate of Education and are quality assured by us. You can read or download the reports on the Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate websites.

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What will my child do at pre-school?

All funded pre-school education centres will follow A Curriculum for Excellence, Early Level covering eight curriculum areas:

  • expressive arts
  • health and wellbeing
  • languages
  • mathematics
  • religious and moral education
  • sciences
  • social studies
  • technologies

 A range of experiences and learning opportunities are provided to stimulate and support children to develop and lead their own learning.


How will I be involved in my child's pre-school education?

Pre-school education centres work with parents to support each child's learning and development. Opportunities are available for staff and parents to share assessment information and review each child's progress and development.

The primary school will talk with your child's pre-school centre and you, to make sure that planning for your child takes account of their achievements and development needs. The primary school curriculum is planned to build on children's pre-school experiences.


Where can I get more information?

Search the online childcare database to find your nearest pre-school centre.

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